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Easy Grilled Bourbon Chicken | The Recipe Critic

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One bite of this grilled bourbon chicken and your tastebuds will be dancing with delight! It’s marinated in a flavorful homemade bourbon sauce that tastes amazing. You will be making it on the regular once you see what a huge hit it is!

Nothing tastes better on a warm summer day than something grilled to perfection. Try these other tried and true grilled recipes like grilled corn, Hawaiian chicken skewers and zucchini for your next BBQ.

Grilled bourbon chicken on a black plate.

Reasons this Grilled Bourbon Chicken is the BEST!

  • It uses chicken thighs (AKA it’s packed with flavor!): Not only does this make it more affordable but the FLAVOR you get from chicken thighs is to die for!
  • Tender and juicy: This marinade will tenderize the meat so that it’s so juicy and incredibly flavorful.
  • Sweet and tangy: Love both flavors? This recipe is for you! Even if you’re not a fan of drinking bourbon, you will LOVE the marinade with its perfectly balanced sweet, savory and tangy flavor!
  • Perfect for a BBQ: Serve this with a delicious summer saladveggies and some fruit for the perfect backyard BBQ meal!

Ingredients in Grilled Bourbon Chicken

This grilled bourbon chicken recipe only requires a handful of simple ingredients. Once you whip up the marinade and let your chicken sit for about an hour, then you are on your way to juicy, flavorful chicken! Check out the recipe card at the bottom of the post for exact measurements.

  • Chicken: Boneless skinless chicken thighs will have a richer, more intense flavor than chicken breast, but either can be used.
  • Bourbon Whiskey: Any brand of bourbon works and will add wonderful flavor. It also will break down the enzymes in the meat yielding tender, juicy chicken.
  • Brown Sugar: For a bit of sweetness and caramelization when grilled.
  • Apple Cider Vinegar: It’s important to include some acid in your marinade to tenderize the meat. Plus, apple cider vinegar has a bright flavor that mellows any harshness from the bourbon.
  • Worcestershire Sauce: Has a mix of vinegar, garlic, chiles, molasses and more to give the chicken an incredible umami taste.
  • Garlic: Freshly minced garlic for infusing the meat with wonderful savory flavor!
  • Salt and Pepper: To season the chicken.
Top view of all of the ingredients measured out in individual bowls and labeled.

How to Perfectly Grill Bourbon Chicken

Bourbon chicken is easy to make and packs a big punch of flavor! Plan ahead for the marinating time and you will be eating a delicious meal in no time!

  1. Make the Marinade: In a medium bowl, whisk together the whiskey, brown sugar, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, garlic, salt and pepper.
  2. Marinate: Pour the marinade into a sealable bag, add the chicken thighs to the bag and seal it shut. Allow the chicken to marinate at least an hour.
  3. Prep: While the chicken is marinating, heat a grill up to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. When the chicken is ready, remove it from the marinade and discard the marinade.
  4. Grill: Brush the grill with oil and grill the chicken breasts for about 3-4 minutes per side. The internal temperature of the breasts should reach 165 degrees Fahrenheit, but don’t overcook the chicken.
  5. Rest: Remove the grilled chicken from the grill and place on a clean plate to cool for at least 5 minutes before serving.

Tips and Variations

Here are some of our top tips for grilling bourbon chicken thighs, so that they’re juicy and cooked to perfection!

  • Use Chicken Breast: You can use boneless skinless chicken breasts for this recipe, or even chicken wings just be sure to adjust the grill time and make sure the chicken is cooked all the way through before enjoying!
  • Clean the Grill: We recommend cleaning your grill before starting. Heat it up, and then clean it off using a brush or a grill cleaning spray.
  • Be Patient: It’s best to leave the meat cooking in one place and then flip it over to finish cooking it through. If the meat is sticking to the grill, then leave it and it will unstick after it is finished cooking.
  • Don’t Press the Meat: When grilling it is tempting to lay the spatula on top of the meat and press it down. Avoid doing this because all the fat and juiciness that adds flavor will seep out.
  • Let it Rest: Once grilled, let the chicken rest for at least 5 minutes before cutting into it. This will allow all of the juices to distribute throughout the meat.
  • Check the Temperature: Use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature of the chicken before you eat it. You can safely remove it from the grill once the internal temperature reaches anywhere from 155-157 degrees Fahrenheit. As it rests it will continue to cook and reach 160 to 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Serving: This grilled chicken is perfect for dicing and adding to a salad like this Teriyaki Spinach Pasta Salad or serve it with your favorite sides like parmesan garlic grilled broccoli or our easy crockpot mashed potatoes and don’t forget the dinner rolls!

A close up of grilled chicken thighs marinated in bourbon.

Storing Leftovers

If you have leftovers of this grilled bourbon chicken, it stores well and is great for quick lunches and dinners over the next few days! Place it in an airtight container and store it in the fridge for up to 4 days.

A plate with sliced chicken and broccoli florets.

More Grilled Chicken Recipes

Grilling season is the best! Grilling adds such a wonderful flavor to foods and it is a great way to keep the heat out of the house! We enjoy grilling everything from steak to fruits and vegetables. Here are some of our other favorite grilled chicken recipes that we make all season long!

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  • In a medium bowl, whisk together the whiskey, brown sugar, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, garlic, salt and pepper.

  • Pour the marinade into a sealable bag, add the chicken thighs to the bag and seal it shut. Allow the chicken to marinate at least an hour.

  • While the chicken is marinating, heat a grill up to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. When the chicken is ready, remove it from the marinade and discard the marinade.

  • Brush the grill with oil and grill the chicken thighs for about 3-4 minutes per side. The internal temperature should reach 165 degrees Fahrenheit, but don’t overcook the chicken.

  • Remove the grilled chicken from the grill and place on a clean plate to cool for at least 5 minutes before serving.

Calories: 462kcalCarbohydrates: 39gProtein: 18gFat: 19gSaturated Fat: 5gPolyunsaturated Fat: 4gMonounsaturated Fat: 8gTrans Fat: 0.1gCholesterol: 111mgSodium: 247mgPotassium: 386mgFiber: 0.03gSugar: 37gVitamin A: 97IUVitamin C: 2mgCalcium: 55mgIron: 2mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.




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